Fianna Fáil TD for Laois-Offaly Seán Fleming has said it is completely unacceptable that the Government is discriminating against Leaving Cert Applied students.
Deputy Fleming was commenting as the oral examinations for Leaving Cert Applied students have been rescheduled for late July/early August while the oral examinations for all other Leaving Cert students have been cancelled and students awarded full marks.
“The Leaving Certificate Applied, which approximately 3,000 students per year take, is a distinct, self-contained Leaving Certificate programme aimed at preparing students for adult and working life. It is designed for those students who do not wish to proceed directly to third-level education or for those whose needs are not adequately catered for by the Leaving Cert programme.
“I cannot understand why oral exams were cancelled and full marks awarded to Leaving Cert students while Leaving Cert Applied students will have to take them in a couple of months - It’s clear discrimination.
“The Leaving Cert Applied programme is more suited to students interested in practical coursework. The Department have said the practical performance tests in Hotel Catering and Tourism (HCT), Vocational Preparation and Guidance (VPG) Hair and Beauty, and Agriculture/Horticulture will be rescheduled for late July/early August.
“Yet students have no idea whether they will get any classroom time before these practical exams. By their very nature these subjects cannot be taught virtually so despite students’ best efforts they cannot possibly progress their learning of these subjects.
“It is also wrong that clarity hasn’t been given to Leaving Cert Applied students around their attendance. A minimum attendance of 90% is required of these students or else they fail. They have yet to receive any confirmation that this requirement will be suspended for the duration of the COVID-19 crisis. Do Leaving Cert Applied students not matter as much to the Department?
“The Minister cannot in good conscience cancel the oral exams for some students and give them full marks and then turn around and tell other students that they will need to take the oral exams at a later date.
“The Government says we are all in this together, but it appears the Minister for Education doesn’t think this is the case for the 3000 Leaving Cert Applied students,” concluded Deputy Fleming.